Headache, shortness of breath, fatigue, I was familiar with these high altitude symptoms from my time in the Peruvian Andes though this time there was something new. Hands tingling, I clapped them together to try to get the circulation going and *OW* -jolts of pain shot through my palms and joints. I was a little worried, more than half of our group had already turned back, but our guide was yelling "animo! animo muchachos! vamos! (attitude guys! let's go!) encouraging us on to the summit.
Los Nevados National Park lies just a few Kms from Manizales, a town that sits at about 2,100 meters (7,000 ft). I had experienced some symptoms of the altitude when we arrived, but was able to sleep it off the next morning. Before we reached the park, we had a bit of a comical incident, as two guys from our hostel had accidentally hopped on our tour (in a minibus) while we had boarded the full size bus on a different tour (going to the same place). Both buses stopped for breakfast and we were forced to give up our comfy full size seats to squeeze in the two back seats of the minibus. This ended up being a blessing in disguise as our minibus was full of Colombians. We chatted it up with almost every single group on the bus, who were surprised to find a pair of gringos who could gift the gab. In particular, there was a mother traveling with her two daughters who had never seen a Yankee (in person), so they were a lot of fun.